• April 05, 2010

    Apr 5, 2010 @ 11:59:00 am

    HarperStudio, the HarperCollins imprint with an innovative plan for paying writers  (by withholding their advances), is calling it quits.

    Noah Baumbach—who directed the bookish family bummer film The Squid and the Whale and, more recently, Greenberg—will adapt Claire Mesud's novel The Emperor's Children for the screen (via the Millions).

    Norris Church Mailer was Norman Mailer's sixth wife. But she was also his last. (Lucky for her, she wasn't the second, Adele Morales, whom Mailer stabbed.)

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  • George Saunders
    April 05, 2010

    Apr 5, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Carla Blumenkranz has irrevocably shattered our illusion that book publishing is a humane, just, and kind industry. Blumenkranz offers a cutting portrait of publishing-house grunt work: "She showed me how to read manuscripts she didn't want from agents—by shuffling the pages until they looked like they'd been read," Blumenkranz writes of one editor, who also taught her "how to respond to unsolicited work—'Sorry to say that Trouble in Venice just didn't speak to me the way I'd hoped it would.'"

    The Daily Beast inaugurates its "Writers to Watch" series, with the first installment's author

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  • Dial-A-Poet John Giorno
    April 02, 2010

    Apr 2, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Celebrate National Poetry Month by dialing up Ubuweb's digitized version of Giorno Poetry Systems Dial-A-Poem Poets. It is well worth the dime.

    You might think that higher e-book prices would benefit writers, but if you do the math, you find that publishers collect the extra dough.

    Does a writer's life get any better than a cushy Cullman Center fellowship? An ornate office at the 42nd Street library, a $60,000 stipend, access to the library's vast research collection (presumably unhampered by the NYPL's Kafkaesque bureaucracy), and the right to call yourself a Scholar (with a capital "S").

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  • Joshua Cohen
    April 01, 2010

    Apr 1, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    Stephen King isn't the only writer with a baseball novel on deck: Chad Harbach, who contributes articles to n+1, has sold his first novel, tentatively titled The Art of Fielding, to Little, Brown for $650,000.

    "The M.F.A. is a degree in servitude," Joshua Cohen tells the New York Observer. "It is a way to keep writing safe." In a lively profile of Cohen, the Observer compares the author's forthcoming Witz, a novel about the hunt for the last living Jew, to Infinite Jest and Gravity's Rainbow.

    The cover image for Jonathan Franzen's long-awaited September novel, Freedom, has been released

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  • David Mamet
    March 31, 2010

    Mar 31, 2010 @ 6:20:00 am

    If you can weather a blizzard of ALL CAPS WRITING, David Mamet's recently leaked memo to the writers of the TV show The Unit has some wise writing advice. Our two cents? Good prose begins when you release the caps-lock key.

    Glen Beck's new novel, The Overton Window, is coming out this summer. Beck, a newsman known for his measured tone and fair and balanced reporting, supposedly loosens his tie a little in his fiction. We can't wait to see the fiery emotion roiling underneath his placid surface.

    Sorry, print, reports of your death have turned out to be only slightly exaggerated. Rumors

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  • Philip Pullman
    March 30, 2010

    Mar 30, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    The Austrian author Stefan Zweig, a friend of Freud, and once the most translated author in the world, has gained a lot of stateside popularity after a 2006 appreciation by Joan Acocella. Then, the backlash began, initiated by a devastating, and convincing, critique by Michael Hofmann, who wrote that Zweig's literary output was "just putrid." So we wonder, along with The Guardian's Nicholas Lezard, is there's still "a place for Stefan?"

    Canongate Books's iPhone app for Philip Pullman's The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ will feature videos of the author, allow you to to email

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  • Virginie Despentes
    March 29, 2010

    Mar 29, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    As James Shapiro's new book argues that Shakespeare really did write all that great work, Oxford University Press has announced a new complete, modernized edition of the Bard's work, set for publication in 2016. Oxford's scholars will "make careful use of all the surviving original documents," and offer readers alternate versions, a choice of modern or original spelling, and both print and digital editions.

    The winner of the annual Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title has been announced.

    Virginie Despentes, author of King Kong Theory, wonders why Hollywood spends millions on slickly

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  • Marlon James
    March 26, 2010

    Mar 26, 2010 @ 6:00:00 am

    The Morning News Tournament of Books has us on the edge of our seats. Wednesday's competition—between the formidable novelists Hillary Mantel and Nicholson Baker—was a thrill (Mantel's Wolf Hall won by a nose). On Thursday, Marlon James edged out Victor Lavalle. And soon, we'll get to know the literary taste of motivational speaker and party rocker Andrew W.K. Place your bets now: the winner will be announced on April 5.

    Referring to e-books, The Village Voice proclaimed, "OK, here comes the flood." In 2000.

    Though best-known as a writer of high-minded YA fiction, Philip Pullman is

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